NFL Offseason Previews: Baltimore Ravens
The NFL offseason is upon us, and teams will begin working to craft their 2023 rosters in the coming months. In this series of offseason previews, we will look at what each team has to work with and their biggest needs. Today we continue with the Baltimore Ravens offseason preview.
As a reminder, here are dates to keep in mind for the 2023 NFL offseason:
- March 7: deadline for teams to use the franchise tag
- March 13: legal tampering period opens
- March 15: NFL free agency begins and the new league year starts
- April 21: deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
- April 27-29: NFL draft
- May 1: deadline for teams to exercise 5th-year options on 2020 first-round draft picks
- July 15: deadline for franchise tag players to sign an extension
You can find previous team’s offseason previews here: Bears | Bengals | Browns | Lions | Packers | Steelers |
The Ravens finished behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North for the second straight season. They also lost to Cincinnati in the Wild Card round, ending their season. You’ve got to imagine that the Ravens feel things could have gone differently if they had a healthy Lamar Jackson under center down the stretch.
Instead, Jackson missed the Ravens’ final five regular-season games and Wild Card loss to the Bengals. Baltimore was 2-3 in their last five regular season games without Jackson, who suffered an MCL sprain on December 4 against the Broncos.
Still, even with Jackson healthy for most of the season, the defense was a significant reason for the 8-4 start before the Jackson injury. Baltimore’s defense finished third in the league in scoring defense, allowing 18.5 points per game.
The Ravens acquired Roquan Smith from the Bears at the trade deadline, and Smith was phenomenal with Baltimore, earning All-Pro honors and a contract extension.
Key Positional Needs
Here’s where the Ravens need to find help this offseason:
Key Free Agents
Here’s a look at the Ravens upcoming key free agents:
- Lamar Jackson (QB)
- Demarcus Robinson (WR)
- Sammy Watkins (WR)
- Marcus Peters (CB)
- Justin Houston (EDGE)
- Jason Pierre-Paul (EDGE)
- Kenyan Drake (RB)
- Geno Stone (S)
Salary Cap & Draft Capital
Here’s a look at the salary cap room and draft capital that the Ravens have to work with this offseason:
- Current draft picks: 22 (1), 86 (3), 124 (4), 159 (5), 199 (6)
- Cap space: $26.9M
The latest injury for Lamar Jackson presents in stalemate in contrasting views between the former MVP and the Ravens’ front office. Injuries are precisely why Jackson is fighting so hard to get a guaranteed contract. However, the latest injury and its impact on the Ravens’ season is why the Ravens are reluctant to give it to him.
This is why there’s little doubt that Jackson will get the franchise tag before the March 7 deadline. The two sides are deadlocked and have fair points and valid concerns.
Beyond Lamar getting the tag sometime in the next couple of weeks, the Ravens need help at wide receiver. Their inability to succeed in the passing game is why offensive coordinator Greg Roman is no longer in Baltimore.
With Jackson’s future beyond 2023 uncertain and a new offensive coordinator in tow, finding some weapons for Jackson through the air will be a top priority for the Ravens. At least, it should be.
If you’re looking for more offseason reading, Sam Hoppen at 4for4 (our sister company) is previewing each division: